Jacques van der Westhuyzen

By Jacques van der Westhuyzen

Head of Sport

OPINION: After all these years Frans Steyn is still Boks’ go-to guy

The last time Steyn wore the Springbok No 10 jersey, in 2008, Siya Kolisi and Eben Etzebeth were still in high school.

It may not be ideal because he’s not really a flyhalf, he’s 35 years old and may not be in the best shape of his life, but you just know everything’s going to be okay with Frans Steyn at No 10 for the Springboks.

Forced into the role because of other flyhalves not being available, Steyn will play at 10 for the Boks for the first time in 14 years and for just the second time in his career against Argentina in Durban on Saturday.

When news of the selection was made on Tuesday South Africans were quick to point out what has happened between Steyn’s only other showing at flyhalf for the Boks and now. In June 2008 when Steyn scored a try and kicked three conversions as the Boks beat Italy 26-0 at Newlands, Canan Moodie was five years old.

Also, some smart alecks on social media have pointed out that when Steyn last played 10 for the Boks, England’s Jonny Wilkinson was still playing rugby, Eben Etzebeth was in grade 11 in high school, Beast Mtawarira had just one Test cap and Schalk Brits made his debut in that June Test.

Also, Siya Kolisi was in grade 10, the Bok team that day included Conrad Jantjies at 15, Odwa Ndungane at 14, Luke Watson at openside flank, and on the bench, among others, Joe van Niekerk and Peter Grant.

Also, South Africa didn’t know then that load-shedding would still be in place — and be worse than ever.

Bok boss Jacques Nienaber says Steyn is just an older version of the man he replaces this week, Damian Willemse, while director of rugby Rassie Erasmus tweeted on Wednesday that it was “incredible” that Steyn (35) and Ireland’s Jonathan Sexton (37) are still playing top-class rugby.

ALSO READ: Why Steyn was picked ahead of Jantjies at 10 for Pumas Test

Steyn is a two-time World Cup winner and still going strong. It must have been easy for Nienaber to pick him this week; he’s not a player who’ll win any awards for being flashy, but he’ll do what’s required of him, he’ll tackle hard and he’ll try get the Boks onto the front foot. He may even slot a few 50m penalties.

Many call Steyn a Bok legend … and they wouldn’t be wrong.

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